Manassero sets clubhouse target after punishing first day at Hero Indian Open
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|Round One Report|
A blemish-free back nine helped Matteo Manassero to set the clubhouse target of 68 at the end of an eventful first day at the Hero Indian Open.
The Italian had been overtaken by course leader David Horsey when the onset of darkness halted play for the night, following an earlier 90 minute suspension caused by the threat of lightning.
Only two players have yet to record a bogey after a punishing day on the striking Gary Player Course at DLF Golf and Country Club in Delhi - England’s Horsey, who is currently five under par after 15 holes, and Frenchman Gregory Havret, one further back at three under par after 12 holes.
Four-time European Tour winner Manassero had a stuttering start with a double-bogey on the tenth hole.
He pulled one back with a birdie on the 13th but bogeyed the next, before everything clicked in to gear from the 17th onwards as he picked up five shots in six holes with help from an approach to four feet at the second, a tee-shot that spun back to six feet on the third and a four-footer on the fourth.
England’s Eddie Pepperell picked up back-to-back birdies on the final two holes to sign for a three under par 69. He and Havret are joined by Spain’s Carlos Pigem, who has two holes left to play.
Sam Walker, Steven Tiley, Jose-Filipe Lima, Romain Langasque, Felipe Aguilar, Eduardo De La Riva and Anthony Wall are amongst a group of 11 players one stroke further back at two under.
Defending champion, India’s S S P Chawrasia, is at one under par with three holes remaining, while his compatriot and 2015 winner Anirban Lahiri endured a torrid round to finish at four over par.
The highest ranked player in the field, Rafa Cabrera Bello, signed for a one over par 73, after an erratic round that included five birdies and three double-bogeys.
66 players will complete round one when play resumes at 7 am on Friday morning.
“It was a false start. I just kept playing well and had a lot of birdie chances and that was the key after starting with a double. You have to be always in play, otherwise there will be a lot of high numbers and a lot of doubles. It’s very easy to lose shots on this course.
“I made a very good putt on 17th. I think that was important, I was two over at that point after seven holes. Making I would say a 18-footer or something like that, right to left, it brought me to one over.
“After the double I started well, which was important because I have been three weeks at home and to come back to a tough course like this, it’s never easy. So the fact that I found a lot of birdies, it’s very, very positive and I’ll try to keep it that way.”
“I’m just relieved to be off the golf course. That’s the most stressful three under par I think I’ve ever shot. Not because I played badly. I played really, really well. I hit a couple of bad wedge shots that led to a couple of bogeys on the par fives, but other than that.
"I hadn’t seen the golf course before today and literally every shot, something can go wrong. It’s an amazing golf course.
“I holed a good putt on 17th for birdie from 20 feet. After making a couple of bogies on the previous three holes that was important to get myself back to two under. And then actually I hit a good tee shot off the last.
" It was quite a tough tee shot off the last, I hit a three wood and batted it straight down the fairway. Those back to back to back shots gave me a lot of confidence.
“You know, my confidence has been a little low this year, I haven’t been playing as well as I know I can. Actually, I’ve done nothing well. So to go out there today and putt better and hit the ball better generally was uplifting.”
“I’m pleased with the way I’ve handled myself this week. We made an effort, myself and my caddie, just to enjoy it, to have fun. I’ve been beating myself up for the last couple of tournaments. Just getting down.
"We made a pact to go out there and have fun. I know it’s just the biggest cliché there is, but that’s what we did today.
“This golf course, I mean, if you let it, it will just beat you up in a heartbeat. It’s tough out there. The wind’s blowing. You miss a fairway, it’s pretty much a lost ball. It’s tough, it’s five and a half hours, nearly six and you’ve got to just keep going and see what you can do.
“Four holes in and I’ve made a bogey on a par five. The last couple of weeks it would have been ‘here we go again’ but this week, well I’ve had enough of that. I just laughed it off as it were, hit a good shot into the next and made birdie.”
Leading completed scores after round 1 at the par 72, 7373 Yards DLF GandC course (am - denotes amateur):
68 - Matteo MANASSERO (ITA).
69 - Eddie PEPPERELL (ENG).
70 - Sam WALKER (ENG), Steven TILEY (ENG), Paul PETERSON (USA), Angelo QUE (PHI), Danny CHIA (MAS), Jose-Filipe LIMA (POR).
71 - Terry PILKADARIS (AUS).
72 - Rahil GANGJEE (IND), Gavin GREEN (MAS), Paul DUNNE (IRL), Ricardo GONZALEZ (ARG), Prom MEESAWAT (THA), Shubhankar SHARMA (IND), Nathan KIMSEY (ENG), Rigel FERNANDES (am, IND), Damien PERRIER (FRA).
73 - George COETZEE (RSA), Wade ORMSBY (AUS), Shiv KAPUR (IND), Kiradech APHIBARNRAT (THA), Rafa CABRERA BELLO (ESP), Pep ANGLES (ESP), Gaurav Pratap SINGH (IND), Rashid KHAN (IND), Adilson DA SILVA (BRA), Feroz ALI (IND), Jens FAHRBRING (SWE).
74 - Jbe KRUGER (RSA), Robert ROCK (ENG), Gaganjeet BHULLAR (IND), Todd SINNOTT (AUS), Brett RUMFORD (AUS), Nicolas COLSAERTS (BEL), Arjun ATWAL (IND), Shamim KHAN (IND), LIANG Wen-chong (CHN), CHAN Shih-chang (TPE).
(Note: 66 players to resume round one at 7am, Friday)
LINK TO FULL SCOREBOARD
+The only Scots who have completed 18 holes so far are:
76 Duncan Stewart (T97)
77 Richie Ramsay (T109)
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